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Sunday, March 5, 2017

Beacon Bits -- Music for the Soul

Arts in the Sanctuary
St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church
15 South Avenue, Beacon NY 12508

Free Concert -- 2nd Saturday
March 11, 2017

Laurel Massé

With a repertoire that embraces Basie and Bach, banjos and bagpipes, the Beatles and the Bard of Avon, Laurel Massé is a singer without borders. She began her career as a founding member of The Manhattan Transfer. Her solo recordings, Alone Together, Easy Living and Again have been applauded by People, Billboard Jazz and The Absolute Sound. Her most recent recording, Once in a Million Moons is a classic partnership with arranger/accompanist Hubert “Tex” Arnold, long-time music director for the great Margaret Whiting. Ms. Massé has also appeared on recordings by Barry Manilow, percussionist Layne Redmond, songwriter Carol Hall, and banjo master Tony Trischka, among others. While living in NYC, she was a member of the professional choir of the Cathedral of St. John the Divine. Current, Ms. Massé resides in the Hudson River Valley in upstate New York and she teaches master classes and offers private coaching in song interpretation, improvisation, and performance for professionals and amateurs. She is a long-time instructor at Ashokan Music and Dance Camp and at The International Cabaret Conference at Yale, and has lectured and led master classes at prestigious institutions such as Dartmouth and The Royal Academy of Music (UK).

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Beacon Bits -- Out of Sight, Not Out of Mind

There's been a long hiatus or a brief hibernation since I've posted my last blog. I think the pause was mostly related to my reaction to changes that occurred in the fall and I'm not just thinking about the closing of some of my favorite Beacon venues like Gwenno James, or Clay, Wood, Cotton and the opening of newcomers Glazed Over, beetle and fred, and the renovated Beacon Hotel. Comings and goings are all a part of life, but some are harder than others to accept or embrace.

So when in doubt, I remind myself of the basics that an anthropologist once said in a plenary session I attended, "stick to the knitting." So stick to the  knitting I did! I made hats and scarves with a group of knitters, Knit Us As One, who met at St. Andrew's Episcopal Church from late fall through the  winter in order to donate them to the food pantry for giveaways during weekly food distribution hours.
I knit a pussyhat for a Beaconite attending several marches in DC, including the historic Women's March on January 21st. And it's not too late to knit additional ones!

And I knit and felted a bowl, entitled 'Let's Get to the Bottom of This', and donated it to the fundraising initiative that Eleni Smolen hosted for the sponsorship of 2017's Beacon 3D project, Bowled Over,  held at Theo Ganz Studio on February 24-25, 2017.
So it was a productive hiatus, a creative hibernation, as well as an attempt to heal the mourning, angst, righteous indignation and horror related to the politics and cultural upheaval in the U.S. I am reminded of  the slogan, Think Global, Act Local and hope that it is revived for the best development envisioned for Beacon, which is a microcosm of our society during this transition. Options abound for inclusion and sustainable development vs. the potential greed and egocentrism of entrepreneurs gone awry.

Food for thought:  It is important not to give up. "She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted." Just another way of saying,  it's time to  'stick to the knitting.'

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Beacon Bits -- Music for the Soul


Art in the Sanctuary

St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church-15 South Avenue-Beacon

One block south of Bank Square and Beacon Visitor’s Center,
next to the fire station.
2nd Saturday Event

December 10, 2016

2:30pm, Free Admission*
*suggested donation for the Food Pantry -- bring a boxed cake mix or bag of stuffing 
Br. Josép Martínez-Cubero, OHC- tenor
With Maximillian Esmus- pianist
music by Beethoven, Quilter, Barber, Álvarez, Fauré, Loesser, Schwartz, Carnelia,
hymns and spirituals
Br. Josép Martínez-Cubero is a Benedictine monk in the Order of the Holy Cross, an international Anglican (Episcopal) monastic order. He lives at Holy Cross Monastery in West Park, NY where he serves as the choirmaster, leads retreats, prepares the rotas, and is in charge of music. A tenor, voice teacher, and theatre director, Br. Josép sings regularly with Kairos: A Consort of Singers, teaches private voice lessons at the monastery by appointment, and is available as a director of theatrical events, and as a vocal soloist. Before entering the Order of the Holy Cross, Br. Josép lived in Manhattan for 19 years where he worked as a voice teacher, and theatre director. He founded The Pied Piper Children’s Theatre in 1999 and its adult wing, Delphi Theatre in 2003 at Holy Trinity Church, Inwood in New York City, and served as the Executive and Artistic Director of the organization until his entrance in the order in August 2014. A native of San Juan, Puerto Rico, Br. Josép has performed in operas, oratorios, musical theatre, concerts, recitals, cabarets, and theatrical plays throughout the United States.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Beacon Bits -- Give Vets a Chance

Art in the Sanctuary

Second Saturday Beacon Event

St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church- 15 South Avenue-Beacon NY 12508

One block south of Bank Square and Beacon Visitor’s Center, next to the fire station

One block east of Route 9D - parking lot in the rear of the church

Saturday - November 12, 2016 – 4-6pm

A Special Tribute to Veterans with

Puppies Behind Bars Photographer

Peg Vance

Q&A with Peg Vance moderated by local photographer, Rob Penner, Beacon Fine Art Printing

Guest Appearance by President and Founder of PBB

Reception to Follow

Peg Vance has been photographing with Puppies Behind Bars for the past 6 years. She loves it. The photographs are given to the inmates. They are for their personal use as well as to be shared with their families. Her hope is that the images will always remind them of their dedication, hard work and commitment and that the photographs will bring back the love and tenderness they shared with these beautiful animals. Peg is also a letterpress printer and has a studio in Columbia County.

Puppies Behind Bars [] trains prison inmates to raise puppies for wounded war veterans and explosive detection canines for law enforcement. Puppies Behind Bars (PBB) was founded in July 1997 by Gloria Gilbert Stoga. The first 8-week old puppies entered Bedford Correctional Facility in January 1998. Puppies are now raised at four New York State Department of Corrections facilities, including Fishkill Correctional and Down State Correctional Facilities in Beacon, NY.

Come learn about a non-for-profit and its special mission for Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans, its local volunteer opportunities, and other ways to support this notable organization; PBB has been awarded 4-stars by Charity Navigator.  Find out more about the recently released documentary film, Prison Dogs. And perhaps, come to meet a puppy or two!
Food for Thought: I bypassed writing posts in October (no tricks or treats) because I was busy, busy, busy. One of the highlights of the busy month was attending the Puppies Behind Bars fundraiser in New York City featuring the documentary film Prison Dogs--the best documentary I have ever seen from the human and canine perspective--highlighting three dogs, three inmates and three Iraq/Afghanistan veterans with PTSD. This photography exhibit will make you want to locate the film on iTunes and learn more about this amazing non-profit organization that has Beacon connections at the local Fishkill and Down State Correctional Facilities. If you are a veteran, know a veteran or appreciate a veteran, come and be part of this feel-good, community-oriented event; you will leave as a more hopeful person, guaranteed. 

Friday, September 30, 2016

Beacon Bits--Signature Dish@Isamu

I have to admit that I do not eat sushi, but that does not keep me away from Japanese restaurants where my favorite indulgence is a Bento box, the complete Asian meal from soup and salad to main course presented in a visually appealing and efficient manner.
So it was to my delight to find Isamu when I first moved to Beacon. Through the years it has been a restaurant that I have frequented with family and friends or dining alone. There is never a wait for a table and there's always a friendly and peaceful ambience. Even when families with young children are present, I have never witnessed a meltdown; it must be the low light conditions and water fountain that create a calm and mindful atmosphere. Or maybe it's the sight of exotic calligraphy or a creative sushi chef in action at the sushi bar.

Of all the Bento boxes I have eaten at Isamu, my favorite repeat order, the Zen Delight, is a vegetarian choice with stir-fried tofu alongside vegetable tempura and avocado rolls.
I think the picture is worth a thousand bites. Simple tastes and a fulfilling meal. Even when they forget the request to swap the rice to brown rice, it's a winner. Arigatou gozaimasu!

Food for thought: People ask why I don't eat sushi. When I was young, I was told never to eat raw fish by my dad who fished in the fjords of Norway as a boy. Norwegians eat a lot of fish--poached, salted, pickled, even lye-soaked--but I was indoctrinated not to eat it raw. Old habits sometimes never die. But I'm ok with the choices I have in a Japanese restaurant without thinking twice about what I am missing out on. I guess one could say I can live in a both-and world; there are those who appreciate the raw fish and those who don't and they can co-exist without feeling like it is an either-or choice. And that is something to celebrate.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Beacon Bits -- Knit for Charity

A group of knitters who convened at the WWKIP Day on June 16, 2016 at St. Andrew's Episcopal Church created a sculpture that was intended to be on view during the Windows on Main Street event sponsored by BeaconArts; the Windows on Main Street did not happen this year, but the sculpture was still placed in the Beacon Reads storefront window.
"St. Andie" under construction

The sculpture, composed of knitted swatches on a women's wire form, has been dubbed, "St. Andie". She wears a cummerbund with the embroidered slogan, "Knit Us As One", which is the theme of a knitting group that will begin meeting twice a month at St. Andrew's staring Wednesday, September 21st, from 7-9pm.
"St. Andie" stands in the storefront window at Beacon Reads
The knitting group will meet on the 1st and 3rd Wednesdays each month and the knitters will select projects to make for charitable groups that solicit donations. St. Andie won't be present at the meeting because she hopes to make the rounds in Beacon storefronts in different locations throughout the coming year. Visit her at Beacon Reads through the end of October and find where she will travel next; she hopes to put on her traveling shoes every two months or so, and hopes to settle down into next year's Windows on Main event.

In the meantime, visit the knitting group. Meet your neighbors. Learn about charities seeking handmade knitted (and crocheted) items. Embark on new projects. No previous experience needed; all levels of knitting are welcome (and those who only crochet as well.) Relax, chat, and let your loose ends unravel as you find support and community with fiber enthusiasts!
Join us September 21st, 7-9pm; 1st and 3rd Wednesdays thereafter

Food for thought:  Knitting knows no gender, nor age. Knitting knows no socioeconomic status, ethnicity, race or tribe. Knitting is an equal opportunity hobby that can quickly become a healthy addiction, one that integrates the brain, builds new neuronal pathways, allows one to engage in breath work and mindful meditation, and stimulates creativity and personal satisfaction as one takes a stitch at a time to produce a multitude of useful objects to wear, use, or gift others. With knitting, the past, present and future is rolled into each ball and skein of yarn. It's all in your hands.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Beacon Bits -- Shhh! We're in the Library - No, It's Ok to Talk About It!

Food for Thought: Of all the organizations that a community can support, the library will always have my vote. Not just when it comes to voting on the library budget once a year. But when you realize that the budget is never sufficient to cover all the costs to keep a library current with the trends that make it a community center with mixed media; libraries are not just about printed matter, but they offer computer access and opportunities to learn from others and network with others and engage in small group projects. Libraries meet the needs of everyone in a community, across the lifespan, no matter the gender, ethnicity, race or political persuasion. Libraries are that place that makes you feel welcome when you arrive in a new town; all you need to do is show up and register for the lifetime of your residency. It's always been my first stop when I've moved from one town to another. It always makes me remember how much I enjoyed my library branch in Brooklyn, only to realize after the building had been razed that it was an Andrew Carnegie treasure; the South Brooklyn Branch of the New York Public Library system was replaced during the upgrading of public buildings when the Great Society campaign offered grants to modernize facilities. It was a shame that there had never been a campaign to save the historic building at the time. When I moved to Beacon, I saw the parallel with the Howland Public Library having been originally located in the historic building now housing the Howland Cultural Center, which still stands, fortunately for us. But I also realize the library is more than a building; it is the connection to all that humanity has known and hearkens all that we will become. We need to support out library; the Howland Public Library is the center of Beacon, both in its physical location, and in the programs and materials it provides to its residents.

Please join the Friends of the Howland Public Library on September 10th to help raise funds for all the 'extras' that the library receives on behalf of its efforts. The Beacon community has been generous with donated items that you will want to purchase and/or usually support, so you will be adding to the community twice. And remember to visit Beacon Reads whenever you can to continue your fiscal support for library funds. It's time to 'pay it forward' and support future generations of library patrons!